Winter Wonderland

James Proclaims (4)


I don’t much understand the Winter Olympics – we didn’t get to do much skiing, snowboarding or speed-skating when I was growing up in South Wales. Then again we didn’t do a huge amount of rowing, dressage or modern pentathlon round my way either and I like the Summer Olympics quite a lot, so maybe my disinterest is less that the winter games are full of sports I’ve never played and don’t understand and more the fact that not many of my compatriots are very good at them either.

Time was, of course, that British medal hopes in both the Summer and Winter Olympics were minimal, but thanks to a ruthless funding campaign, abusive and bullying coaching strategies, and questionable interpretations of the Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) to legitimise the use of performance enhancing drugs, we Brits have become serious medal contenders at the Summer Olympics. Alas those same strategies aren’t going to make the UK more snowy and mountainous so success in the Winter Games will always be more elusive.

Norway seem to be pretty good at winter sports. Maybe as part of our Brexit deal we could join forces with the Norwegians, who already find themselves outside of the EU, and then I could enjoy the Winter Olympics a bit more.

Although a Norwegian style deal seems to be off the table and instead we’re hoping for ‘Canada +++’. I don’t actually know what that means, but the Canadians are also good at winter sports, so I’m OK with forming an alliance there too.

Then again, it’s not like we’ve never had any success at the Winter Olympics. We seem to be alright at curling, which is perhaps not the most exciting of the ice-based sports but it does make for strangely compelling TV, and there’s been some success in the skeleton, which seems to involve going really fast downhill on an ice-track supported by what is essentially a tea-tray. Which is madness really.

Historically, there is even a history of British success in figure-skating. After all, who can forget national treasures Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean? Well no-one can, because every Winter Olympics the BBC appears to be obliged to show footage of their gold medal performance from 1984. And obviously they’re involved in ITV’s Dancing On Ice, which is like a less popular and more hazardous version of the BBC’s flagship show Strictly Come Dancing.

We did have an ice-rink nearby when I was growing up. I remember ice-skating being a ‘thing’ people did for their birthdays during my teenage years. I went once with a group of  friends and, for the hour or so we were on the ice, I was utterly petrified. I never went again and so died that Olympic dream.

I fared better on my one skiing holiday as a teenager, in that I did actually enjoy that. Sadly though, in my one week of skiing I didn’t quite manage to hit Olympic qualifying standards.

Which seems like a missed opportunity on reflection.

James Reviews The Rio Games From The Comfort Of His Sofa

James Proclaims (6)


As I write this I’m half aware of some brightly coloured fruit and vegetables dancing in front of me. I’ve checked the ingredients of the M&S “Spirit of Summer” Cocoa and Pecan fudge that I’m currently snacking on (a welcome and undeserved gift from Mrs Proclaims who just returned from the afore-mentioned M&S), to see if there are any known hallucinogens therein. Seemingly there are not.

On closer reflection, the ‘dancing produce’ seem to be part of the closing ceremony for the Olympic Games. It appears that I’m watching the repeat of last night’s coverage on BBC2.

I don’t really know why I’m watching it. I’ve never been a fan of opening and closing ceremonies. Four years ago Mrs Proclaims and I did watch the 2012 closing ceremony on the TV, but mostly because of the huge emotional investment we put into those particular Games. Continue reading James Reviews The Rio Games From The Comfort Of His Sofa

Memories Of 2012

James Proclaims (4)

Wenlock and Mandeville. Did anyone ever really know what they were supposed to be?


It’s easy to be cynical about the Olympics if you want to be. Stories of drug cheats, athletes behaving badly, and excessively sycophantic media coverage can leave you feeling a little jaded with it all if you let it.

But aware, as I am, of the numerous reasons to dislike elements of the self-styled “Greatest Show On Earth” I always find myself getting caught up in the hype.

Like many of our country-folk, Mrs Proclaims and I have been avidly following the Rio games. Indeed we’ve both become a little obsessed. Continue reading Memories Of 2012

Put It All Out There


Occasionally I like to put together a medley of things other people wrote into what is commonly known as a ‘Found Poem’. I didn’t invent the idea – loads of people do it. I particularly enjoy the work of comedian Dave Gorman in this genre.

I felt it might be an appropriate genre to apply to the Olympic games and have been paying close attention to the media over the last few days.

Watching the  coverage , I’ve been amused by some of the overly-excited commentary at the various events.  So I’ve transcribed and collated a few bits and pieces into the abomination below. As I heard these little insights rather than read them, I’m going to refer to this little effort as a ‘Heard Poem’.

I’ve no idea if it will catch on as a genre but I’ll certainly be listening to sports commentary and news debates more attentively in the future. Continue reading Put It All Out There

Olympic Inspiration


Watching Olympians
Achieving their feats
Can be inspirational
And truly motivational

Maybe in time
I’ll use this inspiration
To positive

I’ll pull on my trainers
And go for a run
Or pick up a racket
Or buy a new bike

I’ll train and I’ll enter
An endurance event
I’ll push myself hard
I’ll give it my best

I’ll be leaner and stronger
I’ll be fitter and faster
I’ll be pure self-improvement
I’ll be a much better me

But if I’m brutally honest
Watching back-to-back
Olympic coverage
All day and all night

Is serving to inspire
A compelling desire

To watch a lot more telly

Perhaps with a nice slice of cake

My New Year Resolutions That I’ll Definitely Be Sticking To

James Proclaims (4)


Tradition dictates that because it’s the beginning of a new year, I must make lots of pledges to change my way of life, even though I’m perfectly happy with my life for the most part.

It’s mildly inconvenient, because while I accept that there’s always room for improvement, I’m not entirely certain that I’m ready to make any drastic changes to my existence. Continue reading My New Year Resolutions That I’ll Definitely Be Sticking To